Myocardial Recovery With Left Ventricular Assist Devices
- First Online:
- Cite this article as:
- Guglin, M. & Miller, L. Curr Treat Options Cardio Med (2012) 14: 370. doi:10.1007/s11936-012-0190-9
- 233 Downloads
Advanced heart failure (HF) is a condition that is rarely thought of in terms of cure. Left ventricular assist devices (LVADs), like no therapy before them, provide complete decongestion of the left ventricle, with resulting favorable changes at all levels, from reversal of hypertrophy of cardiomyocytes to recovery of normal geometry and function of the ventricles. Although not a frequent phenomenon at most institutions, LV recovery is achieved in 20–25 % of LVAD recipients in some programs. Patients with good chances for recovery are usually young, with nonischemic cardiomyopathy and short duration of HF symptoms. After LVAD removal, patients with recovered function remain asymptomatic for years. To reach this level of sustainable restoration of cardiac function, several steps need to be taken: 1) myocardial recovery has to be recognized as a therapeutic goal, especially in patients with nonischemic cardiomyopathy; 2) HF medications have to be restarted and aggressively uptitrated after LVAD implantation; 3) regular monitoring for signs of myocardial recovery (eg, echocardiography or hemodynamics) should become a standard practice in LVAD centers; and 4) weaning protocols should be discussed and accepted at each LVAD program. While some protocols involve extensive several-day testing both at rest and with exercise, others are mostly guided by echocardiographic evaluation.